This entrepreneur started with nothing & has been running his business for nearly 30 years

This entrepreneur started with nothing & has been running his business for nearly 30 years

SME Inspirations

Airamae Guerrero

Airamae Guerrero

14 Aug 2020, 13:00 — 5 min read

Enterprise: Cnergy Systems
Founder: Louie Villena 
Industry: Business Services & Consultancy
Year it was founded: 1993
Location: Antipolo, Philippines


Seeking greener pastures, Louie Villena moved to the US to join a foreigner who offered him a business partnership. However, a few months later, he found that this supposed foreign business partner turned out to be a con man.
 

Louie ended up coming back home to the Philippines with no job and money.

 

“The first question that came into my mind (at that time) is how can I support and feed my family,” Louie shares. “My son back then was 3 years old and my daughter was just a baby,” he adds.

 

With not enough cash and a family to feed, he took the plunge into entrepreneurship using his extensive management experience in the corporate world and founded Cnergy Systems, a management consulting training/ brand. When he started offering his services, his early clients would pay him in kind in exchange of his services. “I didn’t have any cash flow and I had a hard time (to make ends meet) for my family for about a month or two.”

Also read: Managing cash flows during a period of crisis

 

Trying times

Louie considers his first two years in business as the most trying period of his entrepreneurship journey.

“I almost gave up because I was earning only around P3,000 per month when I was used to getting at least 10 times of that back in the 90s,” he recalls.

 

“But I gave it another six months. And when I assessed it, I discovered that I was earning P7,000 a month. It was still very low as compared to what I was used to getting from the corporate world,” he shares.

 

It takes a different level of discipline to be where he is right now. He used to commute to Makati just to meet clients and save every penny he had to call them. Wearing a borrowed coat, he would often meet his clients at five-star hotels.

 

If your mission, vision, and values don’t match with your business partners, then don’t try to associate yourself with them.

 

His persistence paid off when he finally sealed a deal with a major client. “They availed my services for a year. It was already beyond what I was getting back during my corporate years. I knew then I’m not going to stop.”

 

Key ingredient for running a business for 30 years

The veteran entrepreneur has been running his consulting business for about 30 years now and has served more than 500 clients from small and medium enterprises to multinational companies.

 

When asked about his secret ingredient for staying in the business for three decades, he answers, “I collaborate well with my clients and even with my peers in the industry. Because there have been times where I have to partner with consultants and other trades in my field so I have had no problem with that.”

 

“I am here to collaborate,” he emphasizes.

 

Greatest takeaway as an entrepreneur

Louie believes that it was his customers who helped him and led him to where he is now. “They helped me raise my family and feed my family. They helped me to be who I am now and are still helping me in terms of developing my character and having more businesses,” he opines.

 

Despite the pandemic, Louie continues to provide services and has been conducting webinars to train people and reach out to his clients.

 

He advises aspiring entrepreneurs to be careful when choosing their business partners. “If your mission, vision, and values don’t match with your business partners,” then don’t try to associate yourself with them. He also recommends them UnionBank GlobalLinker where “they can share their concerns or need for help and then there would be business owners who would offer help.”

 

“UnionBank GlobalLinker is focusing on micro, small, and medium entrepreneurs who need all the help they can get now. It’s a platform where I feel belonged to the members as they are all business owners as well.”

 
Also read: How to start digitizing your business

To explore business opportunities, link with Louie Villena by clicking on the 'Connect' button on his profile.

 

Disclaimer: This article is based solely on the inputs shared by the featured member. GlobalLinker does not necessarily endorse the views, opinions & facts stated by the member.

Posted by

Airamae Algentera Guerrero

I shine the spotlight on business owners who are doing exciting and innovative work by featuring them as part of our 'SME Inspirations' series. Connect with me and share...

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